Ohhh. I needed to vent so much.
Copy of email sent to Cheif Exec of 1st Great Western..
Dear Mr Haines
Forgive my rantings below but I felt the need to bring a number of issues to your attention.
I am a regular commuter on the line between Kingham and Reading. I have an annual season ticket which I imagined at the time of purchase, would be a wise money and time saving purchase.
Unfortunately the service I use struggles to maintain an even vague adherence to the published timetable. In the last 2 weeks, the 07.18 from Kingham to London Paddington has been on time precisely once. I am forced to catch this train as it is the one the (according to published
timetables) gets me to Reading for 08.18 and then to my office for 08.30 I would catch a train from somewhere closer to home but the price of this is so prohibitive that even I (and I am reasonably paid) cannot afford it.
Due to the persistent lateness of the service, I am rarely in the office before 08.45 My job requires a certain level of commitment from me which includes a certain number of hours. In order to catch the 07.18, I raise myself from my slumber at 0600 hours and make myself ready for the day ahead, generally leaving the house by 0635 hours and arriving at the station at about 0710 hours.
You can then imagine my frustration when on a habitual basis, the train is more than 5 mins, often 10 mins and sometimes 20 mins late. This is time I would happily spend in bed rather than standing on a cold platform waiting for a train to come. When it does finally turn up, there is a string of excuses as to why the train is late, none of them satisfactory.
The return journey is worse.
I catch a variety of trains to get home - either the 1622 from Reading or the 1653 (change at Oxford) or the 1750. The 1622 is often late but I generally get a seat, The 1653 is almost never the advertised Adelante service but a 2 or 3 carriage turbo that has been yanked out of Royal Oak and pressed in to service. This makes for what can at best be described as an intimate journey with my fellow passengers.
The 1750 is a nonsense. It is always overcrowded (at least as far as
Oxford) with many people standing in the aisles and squashed into the "verstibule areas" (aka cattle class). This train is never on time. As I write, my fellow passengers are regailing me with stories of late service and uncomfortable conditions.
I can't help wondering whether these problems could be resolved by adopting a slightly less risk averse approach to Health and Safety - in my mind you could probably run trains closer together on the track and make them longer. In addition, Network Rail seems to treat timetables as more of a suggestion than a reliable service. This really can't be allowed to continue.
I understand that it is a very difficult job to try and run the trains on time but it would help if the trains left on time as a starter...
I do appreciate that these changes cost money and your organisation has probably suffered from generations of under investment but I sense that if many of your staff were to feel the commercial reality of working outside the rail industry, they might have a different attitude to the way in which they run the railways.
I look forward to hearing your responses to this and seeing the network improve.